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News » Expert predicts remote work to stay through 2028

Expert predicts remote work to stay through 2028

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — An economist has declared that “the RTO (return to office) debate should end,” predicting that current rates of remote and hybrid work will remain consistent over the next five years.

Nick Bloom, a Stanford University professor known for his research on working from home, made this statement in response to new data from the Bank of England, Stanford, Kings College London, and the University of Nottingham. 

The survey of over 2,200 UK companies found that business leaders expect their current levels of remote and hybrid work to stay the same through 2028.

The data shows that 30.2% of employees at these firms work hybrid schedules, while 8% are fully remote. This reflects a major shift from five years ago in 2018 when only 5.6% were hybrid and 3.6% were remote. 

Separate research on 500 US companies by Bloom and colleagues projects further growth in remote and hybrid work over the next five years.

Productivity and cost savings are driving the popularity of flexible work arrangements. The Bank of England linked higher productivity to more days working from home, while Harvard Business Review found “little net effect” on productivity from hybrid schedules. Employees also save on commuting costs.

“Hiding underneath the stabilization in 2024 is a “massive revolution” – “This is the revolution of how work from home is now 5x more common than just 5 years earlier. Work from home is here to stay,” said Bloom.

Younger, newer companies are more likely to embrace remote work. By 2028, if newer companies sustain recent growth rates, total remote days could be up 18%.

Rather than focusing on where people work, Bloom emphasized in his 2024 predictions for the Flex Report that companies should prioritize how work gets done through efficient processes, meetings and technologies.

Bloom predicted that in-person work rates would remain stable, or “flat as a pancake,” after 2026, contrasting most CEOs’ expectations of a full office return by the same year. 

Read more here.

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